Jetted tubs use either air or water jets to create their soothing sensations. You can use bubble bath in both types of tub, but you must do so sparingly to prevent an overflow of foam in your bathroom. You must also be diligent about cleaning the jets. Although bubble bath is acceptable in jetted tubs, bath oils and salts are recommended only in air-jetted tubs. They can cause damage to water-jetted tubs because of the way they interact with these tubs' operation.
Air Versus Water
Jetted tubs use two different methods of producing bubbles. As their name implies, air-jetted tubs make bubbles with air. A pump sucks air in from outside the tub. This air is then heated and sent through a tube into the bath water. While relaxing, the bubbles produced by air jets do not provide as much force or as deep of a massage as water jets. The water jets use a pump to pull in water from the bathtub, heat it up and send it back into the tub under pressure. Water-jetted tubs provide an experience more akin to intense hydrotherapy. They require more intense cleaning than air jets, however, because they pull in dirty bath water to create their jets.
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Using Bubble Bath
You can use bubble bath in a jetted tub, but it is important to do so properly. Traditional bubble baths are strategically formulated to create lots of bubbles in relatively still water. When the water is agitated, as it is in a jetted tub, this type of bubble bath creates a seemingly never-ending flow of bubbles and can easily overflow from your tub. You can try to avoid this issue by using only a tiny dash of traditional bubble bath, but each formulation is different and you may still get into trouble. To keep your bubble bath calm and relaxing, use only water-soluble, low-foaming bubble bath formulas specifically made for jetted tubs. With these formulas, you can simply add your normal amount of bubbles without fear.
Manufacturers' policies on the use of bath salts and oils differ, but oils and salts are usually forbidden in water-jetted tubs. Because these tubs recirculate bath water, any salts or oils present in the tub get pulled in along with the water. Salt crystals and oily residue can both get stuck in the water lines, causing problems and voiding warranties. Bath salts also create the risk of rust inside the pump system.
The rules for air-jetted tubs are typically more lax. Because the air jets never take in the bath water, oils and salts should theoretically stay in the tub rather than finding their way into the air circulation system. Clogging is not impossible, however. Water jets are cleaned by simply running them when the tub is empty. The air stream they create may not be powerful enough to dislodge salt crystals or clear away residual oils. Because of this, some air-jet tub manufacturers recommend not using bath salts and oils (and void warranties when they are used). Consult your tub's user manual for specifics on your model.